OBJECTIVE: The Asthma Insights and Reality in Asia-Pacific (AIRIAP) survey collected detailed information on asthma severity and management in the urban centres of eight areas of the Asia-Pacific region. This study compared asthma morbidity and management practices in these areas.
METHODOLOGY: Following recruitment, face-to-face interviews were completed with 2323 adults with diagnosed asthma, who had current symptoms or were using asthma medication. Comparisons between areas were made for asthma severity, asthma burden and management practices.
RESULTS Asthma severity varied significantly between areas (P < 0.01), with Vietnam and mainland China reporting the most cases with severe, persistent symptoms. Severity of asthma was significantly associated with advancing age and a lower level of education in a multivariate analysis (P < 0.001). The total use of acute healthcare for asthma was significantly associated with increased asthma severity. Work absence due to asthma was highest in the Philippines (46.6%) and lowest in South Korea (7.5%). The use of inhaled corticosteroids was associated with age in a non-linear manner. There was significant variation among countries in usage of inhaled corticosteroids, from 1.3% in South Korea to 29.0% in Taiwan (P < 0.00001). A peak flow meter was owned by a total of 7.7% of respondents, and overall, 17.9% of adults had a written action plan for asthma management.
CONCLUSIONS: Within the Asia-Pacific region, asthma in adults differs significantly in disease severity, management and treatment according to area of residence. International recommendations on the management of asthma are generally not being followed.
Study site: urban areas in several countries in Asia-Pacific region (via random street interception, random door-to-door recruitment, or telephone recruitment)